Frequently Asked Questions
Select a topic area:
- Travel Expense report
- Travel Card
- Travel Advance
- Car rental
- Foreign Travel
- What is the reimbursement rate if you drive your personal vehicle while on University business?
- How do I calculate mileage from city-to-city?
Track your actual mileage from city to city. If you encounter a detour or have to go additional miles for something, such as to pick-up another employee, note this on the Travel Expense report. Any additional miles need to have an explanation.
(These rates may change on July 1 of each year; check the travel website or call the Travel Office at 472-3912 to get the current rates.
To make this easy, we have provided a list of mileage from UW-Whitewater to most Wisconsin Cities on the Travel website. When we review your travel report, this is what we use.
If you travel to a city not on the list and did not write down your mileage when travelling, go to the travel website, select Mapquest; select driving directions and follow the prompts to determine the miles to record.
Travel Expense Report
- Where do I find the Travel Expense Report (TER) form?
- How do I complete my Travel Expense Report?
- When is my Travel Expense Report due?
- What are some of the common mistakes to avoid when completing Travel Expense Reports that delay processing the reimbursement?
- Include employee ID number.
- Make sure all receipts are firmly attached to the expense report and are originals for any items to be reimbursed, and copies for prepaid items.
- It is better to over-explain than to not give enough information for us to understand the expense or reason for it.
- Acquire all necessary signatures before the expense report is turned into Financial Services.
- Be sure to include the 10-digit fund, organization and program number; this is how Financial Services knows what department or grant to charge for incurred expenses.
- See the list of necessary receipts in the next question.
- I've completed my Travel Expense Report - now what do I do?
Please use the web-based Travel Expense Report form each time you complete an expense report. The form is up to date, allows for typing information into the areas, can be saved to your computer for later editing, and has built in prompts and a link to the travel regulations to assist you. If you encounter difficulties with the form, please let us know at email@example.com
View instructions on completing the Travel Expense Report. Some general things to remember, always itemize by day as there are maximums allowed for each day - do not lump expenses together; be sure to list items that have specific receipt amounts - airfare separate from taxi or airport parking, hotel for each day etc.
The university does not reimburse travel expenses prior to the trip being taken. Travel Expense Reports are due to Financial Services within 90 days after the end of the trip. If your TER is submitted more than 90 days after of the completion of travel, your supervisor will need to provide written justification for the delay.
- Review the Checklist on page 2 of the TER.
- Some of the most common missing items that delay reimbursement are:
- anything paid on a procurement card should be recorded in the direct billed shaded column of the TER and a copy of the receipt attached to the TER.
- we look for regular expenses for trips to be recorded or explained – airfare, hotel, mileage to airport, registration, etc. Even if you aren’t claiming reimbursement for these, please indicate how they were paid so we know you didn’t forget to put them on the TER.
- conference registration receipts (must show amount paid for registration and what it paid for – any meals, memberships, etc. included);
- airfare receipt and flight agenda;
- taxi receipt (if over $25);
- vehicle rentals (justification for the expense, final invoice plus gasoline receipts);
- meal receipts (if claim exceeds the maximum - must provide justification for why, names of others you paid for and a receipt);
- lodging (original itemized receipt from the hotel);
- parking receipt (if over $25);
- phone receipts if you made business phone calls;
- conference agenda or brochure (used to verify the dates and times of the conference, if meals were provided and the name of the conference site hotel);
- research letters or meeting agenda.
- If in doubt, it is better to include a receipt.
Sign your name and obtain your supervisor's signature (this is still required even if you have signature authority for your department code). Check to see if your dean/director requires their signature. You cannot sign off on your own travel reimbursement.
- What are the meal maximums and why are there different ones for in-state and out-of state?
Costs for meals in some cities outside the State of Wisconsin may be more expensive, so higher reimbursement maximums have been established. Reimbursement rates may change on July 1 each year so check the travel website for the most recent rates.
Meals reimbursement is reimbursement of actual costs, not a per diem. A receipt is not required for personal meals, but employees must record actual reasonable expenses. Meals purchased for others do require an itemized receipt. Meals should not be claimed at the maximum allowed if that amount has not been spent. If a pattern of claiming the maximum for every meal is noted, receipts may be required in the future. The maximum meal reimbursements are found on the travel website under Meal and Lodging Maximums.
Meals and lodging in foreign countries vary. Visit the Foreign Meal and Lodging Rates. After the country/city is located, the breakdown for lodging (first column) and meals and incidentals (second column) are shown. Meals are about 80% of the second column number and are allocated among the daily meals as follows:
- Breakfast - 20% (same times as above apply)
- Lunch - 30% (same times as above apply)
- Dinner - 50% (same times as above apply)
- I need to make airfare arrangements; what options do I have?
- How do I pay for airline tickets?
- What documentation do I need for airline tickets?
Fox World Travel is the State's contracted on-line travel agency. You will need to create an on-line profile to use the system. The website for Concur is http://portals.foxworldtravel.com/university/ If you plan to book a flight on-line, you must start with this booking tool. If you find a price that is lower by $100 or more than this vendor, including all fees and charges for the exact same flight, you can purchase a ticket from another vender, BUT, you must print the quote from this vendor within one hour of your purchase. Be sure you are comparing the same information on flights, dates, and times. The State has prohibited the use of Orbitz so do not use this site to compare prices.
If you prefer to book through a travel agency rather than on-line, you may do so, but need to provide the requirements that follow.
When searching for airfare you must search for the lowest appropriate fare, which is defined as a non-refundable, coach flight ticket. If your conference kicks off with an opening reception the evening before it begins, you should travel on the day of the reception. If your conference ends at noon on the last day, you would be expected to travel that day if flights were available to get you home at a reasonable hour (before 10PM).
If you are considering two different flights because a Saturday night stay is less expensive, you must have documentation of that if you decide to extend your stay and want to be reimbursed for the extra costs (hotel, meals, parking). You must show the costs for both flights, specifically they must show same times, same airline, same date of booking to verify the extra night is why the fare is cheaper. See below for documentation needed.
There are a couple options for paying for airfare. Effective October 17, 2005 you must pay for airfare using either a University Travel Procurement Card or a US Bank Corporate Card. You cannot pay for the airfare on a personal credit card and then claim reimbursement.
If you used a University Travel Procurement Card to purchase airfare, please remember to report the cost of the ticket it in the Direct Billed Expense column of your Travel Expense Report and attach a copy of the air itinerary and receipt. The original stays with the procurement card log.
You will need to provide the original ticket receipt and itinerary if you are being reimbursed for this cost (copy if already paid on a university procurement card). If changes are made after the purchase, the original ticket receipts and all the subsequent documents are required to show all costs.
If you stayed over an extra night because the airfare was less expensive, you must have documentation for your determination of that. This would include the quotes for the other flight, plus a calculation of other costs incurred as a result of the extra day’s stay-hotel, meals, etc.
- I do not have a University Travel Procurement Card issued to me, what options do I have to pay for travel expenses?
The University offers a US Bank Corporate Travel Card to employees. The application is available on the travel web page www.uwsa.edu/fadmin/usbank/usbank.htm
This card is a personal liability credit card issued to an employee and used for University business travel. The employee pays the bill for charges on this card and requests reimbursement from the University by submitting a Travel Expense Report (TER) for expenses. Because the employee pays the bill for this card it can be used for any travel related charges, including meals, taxi, hotels, etc. This card is the best payment option when personal charges will be included with business charges, such as movies, telephone calls, or meals charged to a hotel room, as these charges cannot be paid on a University Procurement card.
- Do I have to apply for a US Bank Corporate Credit Card?
As of October 17, 2005 it is required that all airfare, hotel costs, car rentals, and travel agency fees for UW employees be paid for using either a UW Travel Procurement Card or a US Bank Corporate Card. Because not all employees are issued a University liability Travel Procurement Card, if you will be paying for any of these items and seeking reimbursement, you will need to have this card.
Even if your department will pay for most of your travel costs up front using a University liability Travel Procurement Card, if your hotel reservation has been made by your department using a University card, you should still have your corporate card available for paying for your hotel room. Some hotels will not permit the charges to be paid by a reserving card unless it is presented at the time of check in. If a University Travel Procurement Card was used for the reservation, but it is a department card not issued to you, you will not have it at check in to present. Because you are still required to use either a procurement card or a corporate card to pay for your hotel room, you will need a corporate card to pay the bill.
If you do not qualify for a US Bank Corporate card and have not been provided a university Travel procurement card, you will need to work with your department to make payments for you.
- Can I get a Travel Advance?
UW Whitewater only permits travel advance requests for group travel. If you cannot afford to pay for travel expenses in advance of your trip, or cannot wait for reimbursement until after the trip is taken, you should talk to your department to have them pay for your advance expenses for you (such as airfare and registration).
- Who do I contact if I need to rent a car?
The State of Wisconsin currently is under contract with Enterprise, Hertz, and National Car Rental. This may change periodically as new contracts are negotiated, so check the Travel website to verify current contracts and obtain the booking code numbers.
Enterprise cars may be available from campus. To make a reservation go to the Transportation Office website.
- Can I use the contract vendors for personal rentals?
No. State employees are not permitted to obtain any special consideration as a result of their employment. Using the State contracts for personal travel would violate this policy. However, the UW System has a Big Ten contract with National Car Rental that will allow for personal and business use, and will allow for non-employees to ride in the vehicle. See the travel website for the specifics of this contract.
- I can get better rates from non-contract vendors. Why is that?
It may appear that way, but this is not usually the case. Rate quotes from the non-contract vendors seldom include insurance coverage. When the cost of insurance, which runs between $12 - $15 per day is included, the non-contract vendor's rates are almost always higher. Additionally, personal car insurance policies are increasingly dropping coverage when cars are rented for business reasons.
- Why should I enroll in the contract vendors frequent rental clubs?
Several reasons. Membership is free under our contracts, and you receive automatic upgrades and speedier service.
- What are the maximum hotel costs I can pay?
As of 7/1/08, the State of Wisconsin maximum hotel cost is $70 per night in all areas except Milwaukee, Racine and Waukesha counties, where it is $80 per night. You get this rate by asking for the "State Rate", and are exempt from taxes by providing the tax exempt card to the hotel. The nightly rate is subject to change, so you should verify the current rates on the travel website.
If you are charged taxes, it is your responsibility to call it to the attention of the hotel when you check out. All departments have been provided with tax exempt cards, so request one if you do not have one, as we will not reimburse taxes paid in Wisconsin.
Out of state maximum rates depend on the city you are conducting business in. High cost cites have specific rates and can be found in the list on the travel website. The rates shown do not include tax. If your city is not shown in the list, but is near another high cost city, that rate may be used. Cities not listed or not near a high cost city are limited to $70 per night plus taxes.
If you are staying at the conference site hotel (the conference is being held in the hotel), the conference rate charged is acceptable, even if it exceeds the maximum listed for that city. You should also still ask for the government rate (out of state) or State rate (in WI) to ensure that you are getting the best rate possible.
- Does the State use contracted hotels?
The State does not currently contract with hotels in the state of Wisconsin to offer the State rate. The traveler will need to ask for the State rate when making a reservation. If the State rate is not available, the traveler will need to look for other hotels in the vicinity that will offer the State rate
- What insurance do I have if I travel to a foreign country on business?
Since many of our health care plans are not recognized in foreign countries, "Medex" is offered free of charge to employees who are conducting business in a foreign country. Medex does not replace your health insurance provider. Medex is an agency that operates 24-hours, seven days a week and offers toll-free emergency assistance service, medical evacuation and repatriation benefits in the event of a travel-related emergency. For more information, call the Travel Office, 472-1373 or Risk Management, 472-1856.
- Are there specific hotel cost limits for foreign cities like that for US high cost cities and also specific meal limits?
Yes, there are specific hotel lodging rates and meal maximums for many foreign cities. To check the maximums for the city you are traveling to, go to the Travel website and search for the list of lodging in foreign cities. This chart will show hotel maximums including taxes and meal and incidental per diems. We do not use per diems, but the meal maximum is 80% of the amount shown for M&IE. This amount is then prorated 20% breakfast, 30% lunch and 50% dinner for the various meals.
Other questions can be addressed by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling the Travel Office 472-3912.Travel Information
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